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Learning English - Words in the News
05 November, 2008 - Published 14:31 GMT
US election reaction
US election reaction

Gordon Brown has said he looks forward to working with Barack Obama and said he had run "an inspirational campaign". There have been messages of congratulations on similar lines from governments around the world. Mike Wooldridge reports:

Listen to the story

If this is a "Mandela moment" for America, there were - perhaps inevitably - few specific clues in Barack Obama's victory speech as to how that will work its way through on to the world stage. But for those who have objected to American unilateralism during the Bush years there was the commitment to listening, the promise - in Mr Obama's words - of a new dawn of American leadership, coupled with the pledge to defeat those who "would tear this world down".

Among the reaction from Europe, President Sarkozy said the American people had chosen "change, openness and optimism". And the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, said "we need a new deal for a new world".

Iraq's foreign minister was quick to tell Mr Obama that there was "a great deal at stake" in Iraq and he did not foresee a quick US disengagement, while President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said he hoped the election would bring peace, life and prosperity to his country.

Managing such expectations abroad, as well as at home, will clearly be one of Mr Obama's biggest challenges.

Mike Wooldridge, BBC

Listen to the words

a "Mandela moment"
this is a reference to the time when Nelson Mandela became the first black post-apartheid President of South Africa

few specific clues
not much detailed explanation

work its way through on to
reach, make felt and bring results on

when a person, organisation or, as here, a country takes decisions without consulting or listening to others

a new dawn of
a new, fresh approach to; another way of asserting

coming together

tear this world down
destroy the world (literally, if you tear down a building, you demolish or dismantle it)

was quick to tell
told immediately/without delay

a great deal at stake
a lot at risk of being lost

US disengagement
end of US presence/involvement (in Iraq)

To take away:
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